A China-based, British-owned rapid manufacturer has launched AddSub Manufacturing, a process that combines metal 3D printing and five-axis CNC machining to quickly deliver complex, low-volume components that would previously have required the input of two separate bureaus.

 Star Prototype, which is based in Guandong Province, developed the service after it identified demand for a one-stop-shop for such components.

Gordon Styles, president of Star, said: “Most metal 3D printed parts are not used as prototypes but as complex low-volume manufactured components. Many of these parts need certain high-precision features that are virtually impossible to produce with 3D printing alone. The problems arise because most 3D printing companies don’t carry out secondary machining, meaning the customer needs to take care of the work themselves or farm it out to a specialist machining bureau.”